B10 biodiesel implementation in Malaysia - we speak with MPOB’s biodiesel researcher, Dr Harrison Lau

Category: News Published: Monday, 06 March 2017 Written by Administrator
As most of you are aware, Malaysia is in the process of introducing B10 biodiesel for public consumption. However, the road to its introduction has been a little bumpy to say the least, with multiple deferments over several months.

In that time, several manufacturers like BMW, Toyota, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Isuzu have voiced their concern about the usage of B10 in their vehicles. Additionally, a few other organisations and associations in Malaysia have urged the government to conduct further testing and discuss the matter beforehand.

Our colleagues from paultan.org/BM were part of a trans-Borneo convoy recently, where the vehicles travelled from Bintulu, Sarawak to Kundasang, Sabah exclusively using the new biodiesel blend. There, they managed to speak with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB)’s research head of biodiesel technology, Dr Harrison Lau, to get him to answer a few questions.

Before we continue, a quick recap on the B10 biodiesel situation referred to here. The B10 blend that was slated to be introduced at petrol stations nationwide consists of 10% palm methyl ester and 90% regular diesel fuel.

As of now, fuel stations currently sell the B7 blend (7% palm methyl ester). However, the implementation of the B10 blend will only affect Euro 2M diesel in Malaysia, while Euro 5 diesel will continue to be a B7 blend.

The first question is related to the withdrawal of the B10 blend’s implementation, to which Lau said the move was due to high crude palm oil (CPO) prices, and not a technical reason. He explained that the Ministry Of Plantation Industries And Commodities (MPIC) had to wait for the price of CPO to “soften” to minimise the cost transfer to consumers.

According to Lau, once B10 biodiesel (Euro 2M) goes on sale at fuel pumps, there is a likelihood that it will cost up to 3-4 sen more per litre compared to B7 (Euro 2M). Euro 5 diesel, which will continue to be a B7 blend then, will continue to be priced higher than B10 by between 10-20 sen more.

When asked why consumers should support the switch to B10, Lau stated there are two benefits to be gained from its implementation – the first being an environmental one while the latter is technical.

For the former, the B10 blend will help lessen the effects of global warming and other the onset of acid rain, as well as increasing the quality of the air. From a technical aspect, the B10 blend is said to reduce the fuel consumption on diesel engines due to the better burn efficiency of the fuel.

With Malaysia being one of the major exporters of CPO in the world, the implementation of B10 will also help boost the nation’s economy, according to Lau.

He adds that the public should not be worried about using the B10 blend as many organisations have conducted thorough tests to ensure its feasibility. Aside from performing internal testing, MPOB has also worked together with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

From its testing, JAMA has approved the usage of biodiesel blends of up to B20 but there’s a catch. Only palm oil methyl ester can be used, and only on vehicles that have a maximum emissions rating of Euro 4.

The Japanese association also states that no modifications have to be made to a vehicle to use the B20 blend, but should a higher blend (B30 or even B100) be used, several components will need to be changed, chief among which is the fuel system’s hoses.

Currently, countries like Colombia, Argentina and the United States are already selling the B10 blend. Meanwhile, Indonesia has implemented the B20 blend, providing subsidies to make it cheaper than regular diesel to encourage its adoption.

As a result, the republic has managed to reduce its diesel imports by as much as 20%, and use its own CPO produced locally. As a side note, the manufacturer warranty for vehicles there remained unchanged.

Closer to home, Lau stated that MPOB itself have been using the B10 blend in a variety of vehicles it owns, including commercial vehicles like pick-up trucks, and diesel-powered passenger vehicles with no issues. Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) also uses B10 in 50 of its own vehicles.

For now, there’s no official word on when B10 will be fully implemented in Malaysia, but Lau says MPOB will continue to be in discussion with manufacturers on the matter. As a large proportion of diesel-powered passenger vehicles are Japanese, and given JAMA’s test results, it remains to be seen how brands will react.

As a closing note, Lau says the implementation of B10 has nothing to do with the excess reserves of CPO, because even with the current B7 blend, it only accounts for 1.8% or about 350,000 tonnes of total CPO output (19 million tonnes a year).

Source: Paultan.org | Read More Here Hits: 2844

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